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National Poetry Month: April 13, 2020 — Monday’s #COVID19 Agenda

April 13, 2020

I’m rage sighing, no pants wearing, headed for electric chair eating.

Also: day drinking, toilet paper hoarding, weed pulling, cat walking.

Hand washing, hand washing, hand washing, hand washing.

What’s your coronavirusitis Monday Every Day Agenda?

April is National Poetry Month plus locked down with stay in place orders so I’m posting an American Sentence or two every day along with an image that reflects my experience during life in the time of the corona. 

Today is the predicted peak day of COVID-19 in California. My agenda usually includes lots of outside time and exercise including traveling, skiing, walking, hiking, gardening, yoga, pilates, and Foundation Training. I’m fortunate that my home is near the beach, hiking trails, and the Ventura Botanical Garden.

But we are supposed to stay home and we are doing our best, and other than gardening, I’m just not doing much, not even my yoga practice. At least I’m doing my writing practice here with these American Sentences and writing about my travels plus lots of writing on my wine blog, and getting out and working in my yard.

It’s worth it. It seems we are flattening the curve. We’re doing it right in California. We’re saving lives.

According to today’s Press Play with Madeline Brand on KCRW, California has had 680 deaths and over 1000 in New York with far more deaths per capita. Granted in NYC people live more closely together and use public transit while in LA we drive and drive and drive. So in NYC it grew really fast. We also started out SIP sooner by a few days, March 19 versus March 22.

And those three days made a difference. Each day with SIP more people are home which means they are not infecting or getting infected. California has 23,000 cases versus New York which has over 100,000 cases. And this does not include the number of people who could not get tested, didn’t get tased, or died at home without confirmation.

San Francisco however, is also a dense city much like NYC. But SF was the first place in the US to SIP. Considering how international SF is and the while Bay Area, and how many travelers come and ago, we need to look at how important that stay at home order was.

With stay at home orders in LA were extended to mid-May and possibly into summer, then what? When can we ease up? Is this really the peak? We don’t know, but we will have to be careful and watch the numbers to make sure they don’t go back up.

PS The stay in place order is not a federal government decision. The President does not have a legal say here. It will be up to Governor Newsom here in California to release us, or our local jurisdiction; in LA right now, that’s May 15. That’s two months. We can do this! 

ABOUT AMERICAN SENTENCES: Allen Ginsberg came up with the concept of the American Sentence in contrast to a Japanese Haiku. They are similar: a classic haiku has 17 syllables in three lines (5-7-5) while an American Sentence is one line, one sentence. As haiku seeks to offer an image that generates emotion and conveys a moment in time, the best Sentences do more than just be a sentence in 17 syllables.

I learned about American Sentences from Paul E. Nelson who I met at the Taos Poetry Circus in 2000.

According to Paul, the key to writing a good American Sentence comes from Ginsberg’s notion that poets are people who notice what they notice.

He has been writing one a day since January 1, 2001. Learn more about American Sentences and how to write good ones from Paul here.

Share your own American Sentence in the comments!


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